Butchering the pig
EDIT, 9/26/09: This set is now marked as RESTRICTED. You know why it's here in the first place? Because I think all meat-eaters should understand where and how their food is raised and processed. I consider this set to be EDUCATIONAL. Others apparently consider it offensive. I understand that, and I'm not complaining, but I want you all to understand my motive in posting it before you judge this content or me.

In April 2008, I went to a butchering demo at Brooklyn Kitchen in, uh, Brooklyn, led by the butcher for Diner, Marlow and Sons, and the two Bonita restaurants. He led us through carving up half a pig, and we all got to take meat home at the end.

The pig is Berkshire, from a small farm in upstate NY. It was slaughtered at a small family slaughterhouse nearby, on the Thursday before the class. So this pig had been dead for less than a week before being butchered.

The only organ meat you'll see is the kidney. The stomach and intestines were shipped offshore for processing, and Tom doesn't know what happens to the heart, liver, lungs, etc.

The meat was divided in this way. Twelve large zipper bags were marked with numbers 1-12. We each got to draw a bag out, and the number on your bag was the order in which you chose your meat. We went from 1 to 12 once, and everyone got one piece, and we repeated that process until everything had been chosen.

I chose a large, lovely chop for dinner that very night, and then I got the fat (for lard), a piece of shoulder, a piece of top or bottom round, some bones for stock, and as a bonus, the sweetbread.
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